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Uber to Buy Self-Driving Volvos
22 November 2017, 01:13 | Frank Carlson
Uber agrees to buy 24000 Volvo SUVs in its march toward self-driving vehicles
Under the non-exclusive agreement, the Swedish auto giant (which is owned by China's Geely group) will reportedly supply Uber with 24,000 vehicles based on its so-called Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), the system used on its 90 series cars as well as the new XC60 SUV.
"The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo chooses to be an active part of that disruption", said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of the company. Although Uber is reportedly fine-tuning its technological expertise of self-driving cars, officials of the company claimed to unveil the first robotically-driven taxi by early 2019.
Combining Volvo's cars with Uber's self-driving system builds on their almost three-year relationship and comes as Uber's autonomous driving unit has been hit by a lawsuit over trade secrets and the departure of top talent.
Uber's head of automotive alliances, Jeff Miller also said that the company's goal is not just to build the tech but to make a clear path to achieve it and deploy it at major scale. The firm has also announced plans to carry out one of the largest and most extensive autonomous driving trials in the United Kingdom, through a separate project known as Drive Me London.
Volvo, which is Sweden-based and owned by China's Geely Automobile Holdings, said through a prepared statement that Uber and Volvo were each contributing $300 million to this project.
Uber is working on a system to prevent travel sickness in cars, which it sees as a barrier to the adoption of self-driving vehicles, stopping people from doing other things as they are ferried to their destination. Reportedly, he further stated that the company is moving forward aggressively with its plans and is hopeful to ply tens of thousands of self-driving cars on the road once the technology is completely organized.
This deal with Volvo could be a way to overcome some of the challenges it's faced. As per experts, the success of self-driving cars experiments ultimately hinges on the assistance of municipal policymakers, who are at loggerheads with ride-hailing firms such as Uber for a long time.
When you're driving a vehicle, this is generally not a problem.
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